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The fishing expedition that could scare potential business clients away from UFC

By Zach Arnold | December 17, 2014

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The long-rumored anti-trust lawsuit against UFC was officially filed in court on Tuesday. Specifically, in the Northern District of California federal court. The plaintiffs are Cung Le, Nate Quarry, and Jon Fitch.

For significant background information on the lawsuit, I would suggest you read the following: Dave Meltzer, MMA Junkie, Scott Harris, and Josh Gross. Josh’s article has the most interesting tidbits.

One of the law firms involved is Joseph Saveri’s. That’s the same law firm that recently went after Apple, Google, Intel, and Adobe over allegations of poaching & hiring in the tech industry. The settlement figure was widely panned in the business press as underwhelming.


It’s been a hard enough challenge to find any fighters willing to sue UFC on a big scale. There have been two road blocks: jurisdiction and issues of state versus federal law. Going after UFC via anti-trust was really the only way anyone was going to make a serious legal challenge against the UFC in a federal courtroom, especially one outside of the state of Nevada. On a jurisdictional level, the fighters are signing contracts based on Nevada jurisdiction. Getting a lawsuit filed outside of Nevada was critical to challenging the UFC.

Tuesday’s anti-trust suit filed against the UFC was filed in the same Federal court chain that took on Ed O’Bannon’s anti-trust challenge against the NCAA. I can’t say for a fact that O’Bannon’s courtroom success in Oakland helped persuade the law firms involved in the anti-trust lawsuit against UFC, but it sure didn’t hurt the cause. With so many lawyers involved and so many big egos, the firms aren’t going to be spending tens of thousands of hours on contingency unless they think there’s a significant payoff in the end.

And that payoff doesn’t have to necessarily be a cash award from a jury, either. There are plenty of reasons for the Fertitta family to pay to make this case go away. The sooner, the better. The longer the interrogatory, discovery, and deposition process drags on, the more information lawyers are going to be be able to obtain about UFC’s business practices. That information could prove to be very, very valuable for other lawyers who may sue UFC in the future over their business practices. Regardless as to whether or not this anti-trust lawsuit against UFC goes to trial, the bottom line is that this lawsuit is perhaps the first salvo of many to come in the near future against Zuffa.

Let’s remember one thing here about where this lawsuit was filed. It was filed in San Jose, home to American Kickboxing Academy. That place that trains UFC Heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez and some guy named Daniel Cormier. Remember what happened to AKA when Dana White went after Jon Fitch for signing over his rights for image & likeness in video games? That happened five years ago and it is now going to be used as a proverbial sledgehammer in court against the UFC.

The big questions that must be answered

If you’re UFC and you’re looking for a silver lining, consider the following: Rob Maysey is the one guy involved who knows MMA. Apparently, the other lawyers involved have some knowledge about the industry but not expansive knowledge. With so many lawyers and so many egos involved, will the law firms be able to maintain a cohesive strategy all the way through or will they start splitting apart in regards to wanting to settle as fast as possible rather than going all the way to trial? Talk is cheap. Every lawyer always says they want to go to trial until they have to spend their own funds.

Which brings us to the next dilemma: is UFC really the only target here of this anti-trust lawsuit? Or is Fox Sports the ultimate target here? Follow the money. Fox has a lot more cash than the UFC. As we saw in the Ed O’Bannon case, O’Bannon went after Electronic Arts and EA settled for millions of dollars in his anti-trust case. Will the plaintiffs go after EA here in regards to profiting off of fighters who signed away the rights to their image/likeness? Will the plaintiffs go after Reebok now with the new uniform deal in place? You can bet that UFC’s lawyers will be studying the O’Bannon legal road map carefully.

There are a few points of order that I think must be raised in regards to the pending fishing expedition for information with this anti-trust lawsuit filed against UFC.

Number one: How can you prove damages & come up with a number?

This is going to be very difficult to calculate.

Number two: The ghost of PRIDE’s past

If Ed Fishman is still around in Malibu, I have to think that the plaintiffs may give him a call to ask about what exactly went down in Las Vegas when he was trying to buy PRIDE from Nobuyuki Sakakibara and how UFC magically managed to get into the picture to buy the assets.

A cursory look at our past articles & interviews with Ed on our site might give a glimpse into the kind of dirt digging that may ensue with the lawyers pressing UFC over PRIDE and what they knew about PRIDE at the time the asset sale deal was made. Especially on issues of due diligence. If memory serves me right, Zuffa claimed that they used Spectrum Gaming LLC to do the background check. Of course, it was the negative magazine campaign from Shukan Gendai in Japan about allegations of PRIDE supposedly being a front company for a powerful yakuza organization that led to Fuji TV pulling the plug and ultimately leading to PRIDE’s sale. What did UFC know, when did they know it, and what was their role exactly?

Fishman is a creature of Las Vegas and Atlantic City. The man is brilliant. He knows a lot of information that may prove to be useful to the allegations made by the Plaintiffs in their anti-trust lawsuit against UFC.

Number three: Sig Rogich & Harry Reid

You know what our opinion was in the past about the World Series of Fighting. You don’t have to look very far. We called WSOF the unofficial bastard child of the UFC. The founder of WSOF is Sig Rogich, the public relations mastermind who has close relationships with John McCain, Harry Reid, and associates from his days being around the Reagan & Bush families. Rogich didn’t exactly hide his fingerprints when it came to the paper trail for business incorporation in Nevada for WSOF.

It was our opinion that World Series of Fighting was a stalking horse of sorts that competed with Bellator for fighters while the UFC maintained their status as the one major organization in the sport.

In my opinion, I cannot imagine that Sig Rogich or Marc Ratner will be very happy if the lawyers for the Plaintiffs start grilling them about WSOF and Nevada State Athletic Commission business affairs. Sig was present at the Washington D.C. presser in which you had promoters in both MMA & boxing pushing the Lou Ruvo Cleveland Clinic fighter brain study. The connections between Arum, Reid, Rogich, and the Fertittas aren’t a state secret. One can only guess how interesting discovery & deposition could be against Rogich & those affiliated with WSOF.

Your guess is as good as mine in terms of the path that this anti-trust lawsuit against UFC will navigate in San Jose. UFC has managed to successfully keep a lot of their business affairs in secret. Remember, they contributed money to politicians in Florida who changed the state’s sunshine laws in the name of protecting ‘trade secrets.’

I’m not sure the flood gates of information will open in this anti-trust lawsuit, but I do reckon that the ground work for pending litigation from other attorneys is going to start in earnest.

Topics: Media, MMA, PRIDE, UFC, Zach Arnold | 58 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

58 Responses to “The fishing expedition that could scare potential business clients away from UFC”

  1. 45 Huddle says:

    The UFC is in trouble here.

    1) This law firm is in it for the long term. This will cost Zuffa a LOT of money to defend.

    2) Stuff like saying no to Rampage and his Reebok deal and then sign in Reebok is crippling.

    3) If you read through the document there are enough pieces to the puzzle to make White look bad in court.

    At the end of the day…. if the UFC just paid the fighters their fair part of the pie none of this would have been an issue. They are going to end up paying a lot more long term.

    I have always said I want one organization with a fighters union. This is a great step in that direction.

    • Mark says:

      1) You think a billionaire like Lorenzo isn’t going to fight tooth and nail regardless of the price to defend his way of business?

      2) Jackson’s Reebok ordeal was in 2009. UFC was trying to get Nike on board with more than just Silva and Jones.

      3) Dana looks bad about a ton of stuff in all aspects of his life because he is an asshole. But it’s going to come down to which side has the reasonable demands and various court precedents. The NFL/USFL suit is certainly going to be used a lot in this case.

      4) I remember you saying way back when the ESPN piece aired trashing the UFC’s payoffs that you agreed with Dave Meltzer that where UFC was at with 25% of the revenue as pay was where UFC should be at this stage of the game. I’m assuming they are still at 25%, maybe even more since pay hasn’t dipped too much but their revenue has.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        1) I don’t care how rich he is. Most of his assets are not liquid and are tied up in the value of the casino and the UFC.

        2) Doesn’t matter. They have shown they are hurting the fighters and doing what is best for themselves over and over again. It is a bad pattern.

        3) True

        4) The lawsuit says it is lower then the 25%. I have also said for at least a few years that a COMBINATION of one organization with all of the elite fighters AND a fighters union is what the sport needs. This is at least moving towards that system, which is a wonderful thing. I have no problem with the UFC controlling the sport. There just needs to be checks and balances in the system for the fighters. This way everybody wins. The UFC controls the sport. The fans get all of the top fighters in the same company. And the fighters have some say on their money and rights.

        Now, the UFC needs to reduce the number of shows they are doing…. but that is a completely different issue.

        • Mark says:

          1) They can still afford lawsuits regardless if they are billionaires in their bank account(s) or not.

          2) They’re a corporation, so what do you expect? Plus, Jackson just re-signed, so it must not have hurt him that bad.

          3) Yep.

          4) The revenue estimate is all over the place. Massey says 10%, Ortiz says 6%, put out a story a few days ago saying 17%, Meltzer said again last week he’s fine with the percentage. We won’t know until an unbiased mediator gives a real number. Since no real number can be given since nobody knows what bonuses are. We can know what the on-the-books numbers are if somebody wants to calculate their money vs. AC listed payouts.

          One thing I keep seeing said was listing the “boxing promoters split money to the fighter’s advantage” talking point. Well, that’s for PPV headliners. The majority of boxers aren’t getting that. They’re just like undercard UFC fighters getting 2 & 2 to fight.

  2. sam says:

    Funny that the former UFC fanboy who defended UFC business practices and fighter pay for YEARS is now acting like he’s always been critical of the UFC.

    Can somebody say flip-flop?

    • 45 Huddle says:

      Have you seen my posts for the last 6+ months?

      • JV says:

        What made you change the way you think about the UFC & its practices? What was the last straw?

        You used to be a really staunch supporter of their way of doing business and treatment of the fighters.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          1) No signing Ben Askren

          2) Dana White bashing GSP for taking some time off. I might have actually defended the UFC at first (not sure). But I know by a few months later it left a really bad taste in my mouth.

          3) Dana White bashing too many fighters who didn’t deserve it.

          4) Increased their roster and schedule to the point that it really hurt the sport.

        • duck says:

          45 Not only did you defend the UFC straight after the fight, you called all French people cowards (scared to face Hendricks in a rematch) , even though they aren’t and GSP is Canadian, he just speaks French.

      • edub says:

        Its probably closer to 15+ months now.

        • sam says:

          Well the issue has been around for MUCH longer than 15 months. And Dana and the Fertitta’s integrity has been questionable as long as they’ve been in the sport.

          So 15 months or not, he’s still full of it.

  3. Mike says:

    I bet Wanderlei Silva joins the lawsuit.

    The UFC was able to prevent Silva from making a promotional appearance at a Belator-related event after he announced his retirement from MMA because he is still under contract with the UFC.

    So basically, Silva remains bound to a UFC contract that pays him no money, the UFC can block him from exploiting his own name and likeness, and his ability to earn a living is restricted. Meanwhile, the UFC has the right to exploit his name and likeness however it likes for as long as it likes.

    • Mark says:

      He screwed them on a contract. If they want to hold him to the contract even though he retired, they can. Randy tried to retire to get out of his deal so he could go fight Fedor for Mark Cuban in 2008. UFC wouldn’t let him out of the deal, and even sued him when he coached the IFL team. It’s vindictive, but assuming Silva signed a deal where UFC controls his personal appearances, they can do that.

      • Mike says:

        The lawsuit lists Randy’s contract dispute as an example of a Zuffa anti-trust violation..

        I’d say that the answer is not quite so simple.

      • sam says:

        You’re making his point.

        The Ali Boxing Act makes holding a person’s contract open in perpetuity illegal.

        The same rule should apply to MMA.

        Contracts that do not allow someone to retire and control their rights indefinitely are generally considered by courts to be illegal.

  4. 45 Huddle says:

    Read this article and tell me the UFC is not in trouble…

    At the end of the day if a fighter’s union or some sort of collective bargaining comes about from this lawsuit it is exactly what the sport needs.

    • Mark says:

      What if the fighters union demand every headliner, regardless if it’s TV or one of the B-show PPVs, have to get half a million dollars a piece, or everybody goes on strike. Do you think the Fertittas are going to say “You’re right, we’ll take our own money to fund your demand.” Or are they either going to say “screw this, we’re out”, or start putting “minimum PPV buyrate” demands as a condition of being allowed to headline a show, where they can screw with the fighters future fight money to recoup, or cut them if they don’t hit it?

      I want the fighters to get paid more, but it has to be reasonable. Demanding 2009 money in 2014 is questionable. And when you’ve got Jon Fitch crying about why nobody wanted to put him in a higher profile or pay him more when he never drew a dime outside of the GSP fight, and few like him, you have to wonder about the stability of this union.

      And MMA is easy to get scab fighters and convince stars to cross picket lines to keep the company going. Do you think Jon Jones gives a rat’s ass about making sure some featherweight on the undercard makes more money? Do you think he’s going to sit out with the brotherhood of MMA? Come on. It won’t work.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        Percentages. Percentages. Percentages.

        The money paid to fighters need to be proportional to a combination of 3 things:

        1) Value of Fighter
        2) Revenues of event they competed on.
        3) Overall revenues of events.

        It isn’t fair for a fighter to get the shift on pay if the UFC wants to bury them on international cards instead of PPV cards. There needs to be a bucket of money paid to fighters regardless of how the UFC thinks of them.

        A union or collective bargaining agreement can take care of these things. Basically Zuffa has too much control on fighter pay and it puts the fighters in a bad position.

        • Mark says:

          1-3 they already do. They pay bonuses on buyrates. They pay bonuses on FOX cards and probably something less for FS1 shows.

          I have no idea what they do for Fight Pass shows. But those headliners aren’t exactly Ronda Rousey level fighters. They’re guys who would get a co-headline slot on a Aldo show that does 200,000 buys.

          Meltzer calculated after the ESPN piece aired and said they’re paying 25% revenue. NFL players get 55% of television revenue, but the UFC isn’t even close to the NFL. UFC paying 55% to everybody would cripple them since they’re worth $3 billion and the NFL is worth $45 billion.

        • edub says:

          -No they don’t. Their percentages on bonuses and buyrates are kept in the dark to keep them out of view from comparisons to boxing and other sports which split revenue. Giving a small part of revenue towards fighters isn’t the same at all as giving what a fighter is worth in the sense 45 is saying.

          Giving up 55% wouldn’t cripple them at all. It will hurt their plans for expansion. Cut down on their ability to pay themselves huge sums every couple years when they take out loans. Shrink their non fighter workforce (most likely, but not a guarantee), and most likely cut down on the amount of fighters they keep on roster. However, cripple them? That’s laughable. That’s like the argument the NBA made last negotiation period that has turned out to be utter shit.

        • Mark says:

          I don’t think it matters how they get the money, as long as they get the money. I doubt fighters do, either. Who is sitting around going “Hey, man, this PPV percentage bonus needs to see the light of day!” They just say “Thank you, Mr. White” and cash the check.

          55% of $3 billion is $1.65 billion. Leaving UFC to run on $1.35 billion. That’s not going to cripple them in the rut they’re in now?

          I know they’ve sucked at international expansion, killing countries by doing lousy cards. But it’s still important to business. The Dana pipedream of being as big as soccer is stupid. But every company wants to be global, nobody wants to be US and Canada only. And when business gets bad, it’s a nice padding to be able to go and run heavily overseas. It’s saved WWE’s life several times to be able to go to Europe and Mexico when US business craps out.

          Regardless, we’ve seen countless times what happens to MMA companies that overpay fighters: they go under. 45 lamented endlessly about how evil Fedor and M-1 were for asking for money that ended up killing the company. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that even mighty UFC could have that happen to them. Or fighters will be told to take a hike if they’re not happy with pay, leading to lots of “one and done” promotions everybody hates, and leaving fighters with nowhere else to go but to try to crawl back to Uncle Dana when no more investors want to put up the money to pay ex-UFC headliners absurd money like Tim Sylvia was getting from Affliction.

        • edub says:

          -No, it wouldn’t. It would make them re-think a hell of a lot of stuff they are doing and stop spending so much on expanding while also significantly downsizing their roster (and again downsizing their staff). However, it wouldn’t cripple them, IMO.

          -I agree that they need to expand to thrive, but do it in the right way. Stick to countries that give a return on investment, and can actually bring in crowds. Charge more money in other countries to have the content. Dana and Lorenzo have spoken a few times on just trying other countries interested in the UFC, and that I believe has led them to undercut their own prices when sending content to places like Europe/Australia/etc.. If they’re going to expand just do it in the right way, and stop throwing money at something just cuz you have it (a bit simplistic, I know).

          -I can understand that, but those times they were paying out numbers far beyond what ended up being 55% of their revenue. The UFC’s model is tried and true (no matter if their numbers have dipped lately), its not some new promotion looking to make a splash by overpaying everything in sight. Also, the UFC has taken a hit with the credit rating and publicity lately but I still believe they’ve never operated in the red (or even remotely close).

        • Mark says:

          Whether they “have it” or not isn’t the point. Affliction “had it”. Their shirts were being sold like hotcakes in retail stores by that point, they could have funneled more money out of the t-shirts into the MMA promotion and treated it like a giant expensive advertisement if they really wanted. It would have been stupid for business, but it was possible. They could have waited out the Josh Barnett suspension, maybe ran Sylvia/Fedor II and took a gamble on Barnett/Fedor doing a good number if Josh could stop his love of injections. They still made a profit of around a half million bucks off of the first show, although they lost money on the second. But they did practically the same buyrate, so take Glassjaw Andrei’s insane payday out and that could have profited, too.

          But the question is, is it good business to keep going if you lose money or even make a tiny bit? Lorenzo and Frank sure didn’t think so when they were about to give up on UFC years ago. The majority of their wealth is from the casino business, so it would be easy for them to walk away if a fighter’s union starts demanding $500,000 minimum for every headliner regardless if it’s a TJ Dillashaw fight that does 100K or a Rousey show that does 400K or a FOX show. The union isn’t going to take into account any of that, nor should they, because it isn’t their job to worry about the UFC’s bottom line, only advocate for fighters. But if they take hardline stances with the threat of going on strike (and good luck getting guys not to cross picket lines), then MMA turns into everything people hate about boxing being spread around too thin. And there’s only so many money marks who are going to throw money around before they realize it’s hopeless. Then you crawl back to Demonic Dana the greed master, and you’ve accomplished nothing.

        • edub says:

          -Its still was no where near close to lucrative. Affliction’s shirts were selling off the racks, they were seeing huge numbers from that, then they were putting on events that were losing millions of dollars at a time. The UFC could still pay more than what Affliction was paying out then, and make a profit on events because of The Fox Deal/International deals/PPV profits/ticket sales, and that doesn’t even take into account the numbers they bring in from selling products and licensing companies to sell at their events. The UFC’s revenue stream is much more diverse than T shirt sales.

          -The majority of their wealth is no longer being brought in from their casinos. Their casinos have been losing money for years, and just this year started to stem the amount of losses they were taking. Their inherent wealth is based on how much those casinos and land are worth on the open market, not how much money they bring in yearly. You’re making the same argument the Florida Marlins ownership made before robbing Miami of $100 Million+. There is a large difference between making an extremely large share of profits, to barely scraping by. That area is where most large athletic leagues/promotions exist now.

          -If fighters are able to stay together and not cross picket lines than it becomes the exact opposite of boxing. One organization represented by the promoter and athletes alike with one champion in each division, and all the best fights in the world being possible.

          If the fighters are unable to do this then of course it fails.

  5. Safari_Punch says:

    It’s kind of funny how regardless of where you read it, the attention of a lot of fans is so fixated on the fighters getting paid more money per fight appearance than on the other issues in the suit. It’s like they think as long as the fighters get X amount more, it is ok to exploit fighters, force sponsors to boycot other promotions, use every sort of money thug bullying tactic in the book to control “independent contractors.” Or is it employees again? Which way is the wind blowing today?

    Yes, this comes down to money, but there are so many ways fighters are being railroaded in these slave-like contracts.

    @ Zach

    About the PRIDE sale…If Ed Fishman had the right of first refusal, how did the WWE get a look at PRIDE before the UFC did? Can the sale of PRIDE to the UFC really be held against Zuffa when, if IIRC, weren’t even the first company to pass on them?

    • Mark says:

      I don’t think WWE got that far. Shane McMahon asked Vince to buy it and let him run it, Vince said he wasn’t interested in the MMA business because he was (and is) convinced somebody is going to die on a show and he doesn’t want to be associated with it. So it sounds like it ended with Vince telling Shane no before Shane even looked at it.

      • Safari_Punch says:


        If IIRC, WWE did due diligence and took a pass on it. Off the top of my head I can’t recall who looked at it from the company. You could be right though.

        As far as Vince goes, he has welcomed former MMA fighters into the company (Shamrock, Severn, Puder, etc.) but I know that is not the same as promoting MMA. PRIDE was a much cleaner form of reality combat (cleaned up cuts instead of letting fighters bleed like stuck pigs for example) and had a much different air about it, likely due to the presentation.

        According to Sakikabara he met with Vince McMahon in Connecticut.

        • Mark says:

          Meltzer made it sound serious in the newsletter at the time, but downplayed it when asked on radio shows about it. That it was just Shane’s wish and Vince shot it down immediately. I’ll go with hindsight over what he reported as the story was breaking. For all we know, he could have been getting played by his Japanese sources in an attempt to make UFC think they had to move in immediately to get them.

          As far as Vince/MMA goes. That’s been his reported tagline for years: “somebody is going to die”. It was quoted to him when ex-writers would ask why he never took the UFC PPV surge seriously, and as late as CM Punk’s Colt Cabana interview this month. When asked to be able to walk Chael Sonnen to the ring for his Michael Bisping fight, Punk says Vince told him he didn’t want a UFC fighter on the show because he’s convinced a UFC fighter is going to die in the Octagon.

          Vince will take anybody to do fake wrestling, but that’s controlled. Never mind that Owen Hart died and Droz was paralyzed on his shows and neither of which happened to UFC, but he thinks of MMA as boxing, in which fighters have been beaten to death.

  6. Mark says:

    RE: the Fitch/video game thing.

    NFL does it too. Madden is their exclusive game. A player can’t sign up for a game of their own in the old days like when you had John Elway Football for NES or Joe Montana Football for Sega. If the NFL can do it, I don’t know if that’s a “sledgehammer”. I think all sports leagues have one exclusive video game now, right?

    • The Other Mark says:

      Not analogous. The NFL has a collective bargaining agreement with the players’ union and it has an anti-trust exemption.

  7. I am entering. I got proof how they kept pride out of California. How they tainted bloodwork on Josh Barnett to ruin Affliction. How the ryuined the Colliseumn Event etc etc. I am sending all info to lawyers. I dont want money just justice. UFC is done.

  8. I am working on letter now for attorneys. What U think
    My name is Greg Kazja Patschull I originated the Octagon and wrote the rules for MMA. My first event was February 1993 called Cage of Rage this is where Art Davie and the Gracies came to my event and got the idea. I also got the commissions to call the Sport MMA instead of NHB. I received the first license for MMA in California in 2000. I had Pay Per View and TV lined up with Endeavor who got them on spike with my idea. But my pay per view contact told me that I had to get Nevada to approve the sport also before they commit. I contacted Marc Ratner and Kirk Hendrik of the NSAC. Kirk Hendrik was the Deputy Attorney General at the time. Marc Ratner was the EO of the NSAC. Lorrenzo Fertitta was a NSAC commissioner. This is how they kept the sport out.Well I called them and said I was approved in California. I am licensed but I need you to approve the sport so I can do Pay Per View. At first they said they will never approve this sport. Then I said I am doing it here safely in California with my rules I wrote and I am coming out to Nevada and do my events. If you want you can arrest me but I am moving forward. All of a sudden they called me back and said they are going to approve my rules and make this sport legal. Kirk Hendrik (Now UFC/Zuffas Attorney) told me to not say I have Pay Per View and he will get me licensed. Also Fertittas called me by Marc Ratner on my home phone and asked me if I am planning to sue them for my idea and creation of the Octagon.

  9. Alan Conceicao says:

    I know fuck all, really, but if I had to guess, the lawsuit ends with the UFC’s never-ending contracts being given end dates of some sort and percentages from the Reebok deal increasing and being open to outside accountants to look at. Overall, I think they buy off a lot of fighters (a lot lot) because doing that in the short term is better than paying future athletes significantly more in the long term should they actually unionize (which they will fail to do).

    • 45 Huddle says:

      The lawyer that I linked the article to above said this on The UG:

      “Whatever side of the debate you are on this lawsit will at the very least result in a detailed analysis of UFC business practices. Ultimately some of these will be overhauled by the pressures created by this litigation.”

      So at the very least we are likely to see some positive changes for the fighters. Who knows what the ceiling is for progress for the fighters.

  10. Alan Conceicao says:

    Also, if you want to find out who the real shills are for Zuffa, just look at whoever thinks the lawsuit lacks merit to see what their opinion on the Eddie Alvarez Bellator contract fight thought. A whole lot of them argued vehemently that Bellator’s case was fraudulent in that they couldn’t actually match the UFC’s pay as Bellator could never offer a real match of PPV dollars for Alvarez. If that was true then, what changed now to even the economic equation?

    • Mark says:

      I guess people flip flopped because Spike wants to put money into Bellator after the Tito/Bonnar thing did so well? I don’t know. They still don’t have a PPV market beyond 100K, which is the level every non-UFC org tops out at if they even get that lucky. And we don’t even know if they give TV bonuses like UFC.

  11. Can of worms about to explode.

  12. If our State Athletic Commissions would do there Job by enforcing the Federal Ali Act Law there would be no antirust lawsuit. But the UFC/Zuffa threatens the commissions if they start enforcing the law on MMA fighters the UFC will not come to there State. This law is for all states it is Federal.

    • Chuck says:

      Considering that the Ali Act has NEVER been enforced for boxing (what it is meant for) what makes you think it will be enforced for MMA? I don’t think it can be. It should, but I doubt it will. If anything, a new law would probably be made. Randy Couture Act? Eddie Alvarez Act? Something like that?

  13. Chuck says:

    Does anyone else find it ironic (correct usage of the word be damned!) that CM Punk, who left the WWE on bad terms mostly because of their business practices, signed with the UFC right before the lawsuit came out?

  14. Mark says:

    Observer has an article up talking about how the Sherman Act is going to play into the lawsuit, with the article ending:

    As such, the UFC has a few ways to wiggle out of this. They can claim they are not a monopoly given the number of competitors promoting mixed martial arts. They can claim they are a sports league and that they are a small player in a broader sports market, or pull a WWE move and claim they are competing in the ever-crowded entertainment market. And even if the court doesn’t buy any of their “we’re not a monopoly” arguments, it has to be proven that they used unfair or predatory practices to become one. Considering the fates of many of their past competitors were at least as much because of those competitors over-spending or otherwise shooting themselves in the foot as they were due to UFC promoting against them, this may be their best road to success in this situation.

    So if it all comes down to trying to get sympathy for PRIDE, IFL, Elite, Bodog, and Strikeforce, good luck with that.

  15. david m says:

    Dana White’s assertion that Ben Askren doesn’t want to fight in the UFC was the most lol-worthy moment in mma this year. I will give Dana credit, he literally will say anything at any time. He has no credibility, and yet, he acts like he is a man of honor and integrity. He reminds me of Sergey Lavrov.

  16. duck says:

    The lawsuit is for what $200 million,even if they lost it wouldn’t be that much. Manchester City pay themselves more than that in sponsorship per year, they do that to compete with the top Soccer clubs in Europe. This is due to Financial Fair Play, which is basically you can only spend as much as you earn, which is why the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona,and Manchester United can spend so much, while almost everyone else has to budget cut. The guy who owns Manchester City also owns 10% of the UFC, whose to say they don’t buy a bigger share if shit hits the fan.

  17. TRUTHspitter says:

    this lawsuit suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurrrrrreee is scaring away business clients LMFAOOOO

    there WILL be more “business clients” jumping on board to take open slots on the Uniform as well. dont nobody give a rat-fuck about this lawsuit LMFAOOOO

  18. 45 Huddle says:

    Add Dennis Hallman vs. Javier Vasquez to the list of people suing the UFC.

    The Hallman thing could get interesting. He was legally allowed to wear a thong into the ring yet was bashed by Dana White for doing so. I wonder if they could show he was unfairly penalized in the long term. Hard to say.

    You can easily see why companies don’t have people like Dana White as the companies spokesman. It is a lawsuit waiting to happen. Edgy is one thing. Being a pr#ck is something else.

    • Mark says:

      How can he claim he was hurt at all by that?

      A) His ballbag was exposed at one point, leading to the “Put some clothes on” chant.

      B) He wasn’t fired or demoted after that loss.

      C) He missed weight twice, and was fired for that.

      D) Dana gave him a pity pay check for showing up fat when he told him he wasn’t training because he was in a divorce.

      How many guys can say they got that treatment from Dana when they hadn’t been considered stars the early Zuffa days?

  19. The case is impressive, the firms are fairly powerful, and the UFC will have to spend a ton of money to get rid of it all. As someone who personally battled the Fertittas in court by way of Xyience, I know they are ruthless SOBs. The bankruptcy trustee for Xyience had the Fertittas in really hot water with his complaint against them charging that they engaged in a “loan to own” scheme:

    He still ended up having to settle, because the judge was obviously biased. That was in Nevada, though, in the Las Vegas bankruptcy courts. This case is in California, where the Fertittas still have influence, but much less of it. Maysey is not in this for the settlement track. He wants to take it to the end, and having all that legal support is going to be huge. It will be awesome for once to see the Fertittas in a fair legal fight, but it will definitely be a long and drawn out dispute. My bet is it will be two or three years before it’s all over. The Fertittas are happy to spend money on lawyers, because it makes things easier than having to actually answer for their transgressions. Usually, all they have to do is get their army of attorneys after whoever’s making a stink, and that stink goes away. This time the lawyers on the other side will be just as well educated and ready to spend the big bucks to take this thing to the finish line.

    My main question is why go after only the fighter claims? The suit describes a myriad of other potential plaintiffs who have been damaged. Everyone from promoters to agents to trainers and sponsors who were locked out unfairly ought to be able to sign up as part of the class.

  20. Nepal says:

    To Greg kazja patschull,
    It would be interesting to hear what information you will be passing on, can you share that with us?

  21. Diaz' spacked bowl says:

    I guess the time Coker spent under zuffa’s dictatorship turned him to the dark side…he was always pretty lame and shortsighted with some poor matchmaking skills, but boy does he come off as a zuffa shill…

    “Do I think Bellator is a minor league?” Coker said. “The answer is no.”
    “I would say four years ago, people would say that about Strikeforce,” Coker said of the “minor league” distinction. “They’d say, ‘Oh, UFC has the best fighters, the best champs.’ That can be debated. Look at Luke Rockhold, what he’s done. Look at Daniel Cormier, what he’s done. Look at Tyron Woodley, OSP. The names go on and on and on of all the great Strikeforce fighters that have done really well over there.”Labeling a league based on the past can be misleading, because the fighters that are here today fighting for us are gonna be the next Luke Rockholds, the next Daniel Cormiers,” Coker said. “They’re going to be the next stars of MMA.”

    Yeah right pal, all of those guys are with the ufc NOT bellator, and all the “good” bellator fighters end up in the UFC like rampage, Eddie, Hector, askre, well you know what I mean.
    Coker is delusional, he’s running shows with older fighters close to expiring, and a handful of young potential stars!

    Coker…”In today’s marketplace, it sure is a lot better to have two leagues that can afford you and pay for you,” “Now you have a second bidder in the marketplace. Before, I think after Strikeforce was bought out, it kind of became a one-promotion bidding opportunity. Now that there’s two, it’s going to make the fighters much happier and the managers much happier.”

    Coker, are you not aware that prior to YOU selling out to the ufc Bellator was there? making THREE leagues? 3 minus 1 is 2 right?
    By Cokers math Bellator wasn’t even a league until it was gifted to him.

    • Safari_Punch says:

      Do you think that Scott Coker is reading your comments?

      • Diaz' spacked bowl says:

        I’m sure coker has some reading skills, its his comprehension I’m concerned about.
        Do you think Cokers comments are foolish boasts? Or is he a genius who can’t count and sells strikeforce(which he contends was a major league) to zuffa?

        Ballator and ufc have a lot of B fighters, but UFC has most of the A fighters, Bellator has signed a few ex ufc A and B fighters who are now B- fighters with big names and he just lost Rampage. Thats a minor league promotion if I ever saw one.
        Obvious example- if Coker were to sign Brock, he’s championship material and its a sure bet he beats every Bellator HW fighter. But were Brock to resign with zuffa its a sure bet he’d loose half the time, at least.

    • Mark says:

      Coker is delusional, he’s running shows with older fighters close to expiring, and a handful of young potential stars!

      I know, right! Imagine if Dana White had signed Tank Abbott, Ken Shamrock, Kimo, and Royce Gracie to draw in fans to see their young stars as they built up. That never would have worked.

      • Diaz' spacked bowl says:

        Sure they hired some old timers while they lost champions such as Murillo Penn Pulver etc… None of the fighters you mention propelled any young up and coming young fighter to star fighter.
        Kimo… 2 fights, beat Tank (who should have been fighting Ken) lost to Ken and busted for 3 PEDs.
        Gracie… 1 fight lost to Hughes(pre zuffa star no spring chicken at the time)
        Tank… 2 fights lost badly to Kimo(pre zuffa star) and Mir(pre zuffa star).
        Shamrock and Tito both stars before zuffa ufc fought 3 times.
        Ken thrown in the garbage shortly after loosing to Franklin who was good but not star material.

        They built up franklin and mir, but the 90% of fighters on these cards were already vets of mma.
        Gsp was the exception. Diego was already a KOTC vet, lawler was an up and comer but was dropped from the ufc, Diaz as well, and both became stars outside of the UFC!

        • Mark says:

          It doesn’t matter that they lost, they still hired them to do the same thing Bonnar and Ortiz were hired by Bellator for. It’s a good strategy, get old fans to come back saying “Hey, I remember that guy” and keep them there to show them the new guys.

          But I disagree they brought Shamrock in to lose in 2002. Either outcome would have made them happy: Tito beats the big name and makes new fans respect him, or the big name wins and you get him in title fights. They would have been happy if he beat Tito at UFC 40. They certainly would have been happy if he beat Rich Franklin in 2005. Rich winning didn’t do much for business. He wasn’t a big buy rate fighter. 53 did 90,000, 56 did 200,000 even with a TUF season and a TUF alumn behind it, 58 did 300,000 but GSP and BJ was the real main event, 64 did 300,000 but Florian probably drew that, 77 did 375,000 with two title fights and a Bonnar fight. Shamrock not looking like a loser would have done much better business. Nothing against Ace, I was a big fan of his, but he always disappointed at the PPV numbers.

          And Mir wasn’t pre-Zuffa. His first fight for UFC was UFC 34, the 4th Zuffa show.

  22. Diaz' spacked bowl says:

    Your right about Mir, but Ken said in an interview he was brought in to build up/lose to Franklin. These has beens were the best ufc could get at the time since most of the big stars were in Pride.
    But that’s all digression, my stating the obvious point is Coker is doing zuffa lawyers a solid by proclaiming that he’s gods gift to fighters. The non star fighters are still being paid next to nothing in Bellator, while Tito got 1/2 of the money for the last show. While he may make a lot of noise to draw some attention, he’s not getting brock or any other big names. Dos caros? lol.

    But what was up with ufc telling their fighters to sign the “ufc isn’t a monopoly oath” in 2012? As stated by Vera, who didn’t sign it.

    • Mark says:

      Ken said that in his bitterness rantings about UFC after they cut him after promising him a Bisping fight. The scrapped Bisping fight, and the 2nd and 3rd Ortiz fights he was certainly brought in to lose. But Franklin was an alternative fight to the Ortiz fight that they couldn’t get in in time because Tito was playing hardball for his contract negotiations. They certainly hopped he’d look good against Franklin to make the Ortiz fight seem like more than just a Tito Ortiz showcase. People has speculated since the minute the Franklin fight ended that Ken took a dive. But, come on. That makes no sense.

      What’s wrong with Coker being a little cocky? Do you expect a promoter to have success and go around saying “OMG, we’re the shits, everything is going downhill from here”? If he acts like Bellator is rising while UFC is stagnant, then that’s going to do more to attract fighters into considering going there.

      The non star fighters are still being paid next to nothing in Bellator, while Tito got 1/2 of the money for the last show. While he may make a lot of noise to draw some attention, he’s not getting brock or any other big names. Dos caros? lol.

      Again, UFC did the same thing. Look even at UFC 60 payouts: Royce got slightly more than Tito, but Hughes got half of what Bonnar did. And that was nearly 50% of the payroll. It’s what happens to upstart MMA promotions: the guys who draw the buys/ratings get the most, top newer guys get less, and the undercarders fight for a couple grand.

      We don’t know if he’d get Brock. He probably won’t, but if Viacom wants to open up the checkbook and know he’d make Bellator a major player, and Brock would rather fight cans and make a lot of money than get wiped out up 2nd tier UFC heavyweights and quickly exit MMA again, it’s not impossible. Brock is going to have to fight a bunch of sharks if he goes back into the UFC. They aren’t going to pay him millions of dollars to fight nobodies. The easiest fight he’d get is Struve. I don’t think Brock really wants to be fighting Miocic, Dos Santos, Cain, Werdum, ect. I think he knows he doesn’t have what it takes anymore to be on that level. He looked like he was about to have a heart attack at Summerslam, a match that was 75% “Brock stands around and looks scary”. Bellator would find him cans with no grappling to beat in 2 minutes. And if Viacom pays him a fortune, it would be smart for him to do it. But he’s not working for Ortiz money, he’s going to want what WWE is paying him right now.


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